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“When Should We Reveal Our Hands?” by Alan25main

November 13, 2019

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Do you keep your auto-muck setting on while you play at Replay Poker? Or are there circumstances when you like to show your hand? In this article, player Alan25main speaks about the times he chooses to reveal his cards. When do you prefer to show others this choice information?

“A few days ago, a friend, KingRat, sent me a note saying some nice things about something I had written. Then, he asked a question: when our opponent in a poker game folds to our bet, how often, if ever–and why–should we reveal the hand we were betting on?  I scratched my head and said I didn’t know, and I’d have to think about it. In other words, I bluffed for time, but the question should have a rational answer.

Some players have really strong feelings about seeing the winning hand. There is an entire Replay League, the Poker Disclosure League, that requires the winning hands to be shown. So, clearly, this is a subject worth some thought.

I started by thinking of the times I reveal hands I don’t have to show. If I’ve just been beaten by AAKKQ, I’d likely reveal my AAKKJ to show I’d been beaten only by a whisker. If I bet on a straight flush or quads and no one calls, I’d likely show it, simply because of its being so unusual. If my hand is obvious, like AAxxx, I might show it because it only confirms what I think my opponent(s) already knew. If I pulled off a spectacular bluff, I might show it to unsettle my opponent(s) and remind them that I do bluff, though in actual practice, they call often enough that this isn’t usually necessary.

Then I thought about hands I probably would not show if they lost or were uncalled. Small sets or trips (9s and under), most inside straights caught on the river, and tiny flushes would all be things I don’t really want anyone to figure me to be drawing to. I don’t want my opponents to think I’m ever “gambling,” when in fact, I do sometimes gamble. It’s a poker game, for crying out loud. We’re supposed to gamble now and then. It’s traditional.

The objective of revealing–or not revealing–our cards should be to influence what our opponents are thinking, especially when we think they’re trying to get an accurate read on us. We want them to think we’re strong when we’re not and weak when we’re strong. We need to create doubt in the opponent’s mind so he/she makes mistakes we can take advantage of.

Remember, we are never trying to “get good cards,” we’re always trying to get into good situations.”